Should I confront my aggressive father?

Posted , 10 users are following.

I need some advice with regards to my abusive father and I was hoping you could help me. 

Basically, my father has been showing aggressive behaviour since I can remember myself (for all I know, it could have been happening even before I was born). I grew up in a house where my parents would be constantly fighting. I was sometimes even awaken by the yelling in the mornings. They have rarely had happy moments that I can recall. Every few years my dad would get extremely angry (compared to moderately angry everyday behaviour that he had) and take it on my mother by physically abusing her. I could feel the tension building up and I just knew that it was about to happen. I feared him most of the time, not because he would hurt me (he never physically abused me), but because of what he would do to my mom. I have been present at the abuse. When I was a teenager, there was a time he asked me to leave the room, I was absolutely horrified to leave my mom because I knew what would happen. I would cry and hear all the yelling and my mom’s sobbing in the other room. When I was 19, I woke up one morning because I heard him hit her. For the first time I stood up to him and he pushed me out of the room, raised his hand in an attempt to slap me but he couldn’t. He left for work shortly after. I told my mom we should leave straight away. She has been telling me for years that she stayed with my dad because of me which made me feel guilty over time. I told her if she needs my approval, she has it, and I really want to leave as this has been extremely stressful and horrifying experience. She agreed with me, but a few hours later she met with one of her best friends, who advised her not to leave my dad…So she didn’t. I felt very angry at her friends for giving her such advise and also at my mom for not listening to me thus causing herself and myself more pain. My dad continued to verbally abuse me and my mom over the next few days. As usual, he would calm down within the next week and everything would be back to normal. A couple of months later I went to study in another country. That was in September 2009. 

In my first 2 years away I suffered from anxiety and depression, I had flashbacks and nightmares related to the abuse. I would visit my parents occasionally and every time my dad would raise his voice at me or my mom I felt extremely uncomfortable. I still felt guilt as my mom was still living with him. Over the last 3 years, as I became completely independent financially and I go home to visit every 1.5 years, he barely argues with me. My mom told me he is not aggressive anymore but occasionally he would get upset and yell for a bit but calm down really quickly. I am not sure I believe her, for all I know he could be physically abusing her again and she is just not telling me. Also, in the last 3 years I was feeling mostly happy, but occasionally I would have flashbacks of the events and get angry and sad and cry for days. I went home 3 weeks ago and I had an argument with him (started from something insignificant) which took me back in time and really upset me. My mom told me I should not be upset with him as he is my father and he has done a lot of things (financial) for me. Back in 2009, when I asked her to leave and she didn’t, I realised that she can’t protect me and this made me see her as a weak person whom I couldn’t rely on. I felt like the protector, instead of feeling protected. Additionally, she makes me feel guilty and ungrateful for the things they have done for me. As if the abuse is really insignificant compared to the money they have provided. Also, she keeps implying problems between parents are normal and exist in every household, but I always found this disturbing. It is not right when your husband does that. My relationship with my mom is very tense due to my dad’s abuse - I feel like I can’t trust her, like she would always be on his side instead of mine, and I feel guilty she stayed with him and I also resent her for not leaving him. I tried explaining to her a few times why I feel so unhappy and what she is doing to cause this, but she would just either deny it or say that I am overreacting. I have never talked to my dad directly about these issues. He is a very tough person, hard to talk to and approach. I rarely speak to him and if I do it is for 5 minutes at most. 

In addition, I have a half-sister, a daughter he had from a previous marriage that no one ever told me about. I learnt by accident 12 years ago as she called on the phone and I also found a child support letter. My parents knew about the phone call but got away with it by claiming it was just a crazy person doing a phone prank. I never told them about the letter as I thought they would tell me when the time is right. However, I started thinking about my sister a year ago and I decided to look for her. She is 7 years older than me (I am 24). I found her 3 weeks ago when I went home. She told me our dad and her mom were married for a couple of years and shortly after she was born they divorced. Her mom told her they were fighting a lot and that’s why they divorced. My sister never saw our dad in her life. He paid child support until she was 18 but never tried to make contact. She found his number and contacted him a few times but he kept hanging up on her. That’s when she called home and I answered. She called home once more but my mom told her to stop calling. She gave up but she continued searching for a way to contact me. She couldn’t find such though and hoped one day I would find her. She showed me photos of our dad holding her as a baby and photos from his first wedding. She looks so much like him. She was really happy and excited that I found her and we met, she is a great person, very kind and open. i felt connection to her that I don’t feel to any of my other relatives (I always felt like an alien in my family). Meeting her made me feel happy, but I also felt sad. I felt like I have lost something when I have actually gained a sister. I guess I was sad for all the lost years. I also think I see in her the support I never had in my parents. I am additionally stricken by the fact none of my relatives (grandparents, my dad’s sister, cousins) ever mentioned her! I can’t understand why they would hide her entire existence...

I met her the same day I was leaving home and flying back. My parents have no idea this has happened. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about everything for the last 3 weeks. I have been crying every day, I feel angry and sad. I am not able to concentrate on my work at all. I talk to my sister almost every day. We are trying to make up for the lost time and build a relationship. I haven’t shared with her that our dad is an abusive person. I have only told her we fight a lot. I suspect he might have been physically abusive towards her mom as well and that was the reason they divorced. 

I feel I need to finally confront my father. I have never done it directly and I don’t think he is aware of how much he has hurt me and what he has done to my life. I also want to confront him about never telling me about my sister. I felt I have lost all respect for him (if there was any left) having learnt he never contacted her. I am considering flying home and letting him know how I feel. However, I am worried for 2 things: what if this just makes things worse and what if he takes it on my mom again? I am wondering if I should lay it all out and give him a chance to change (which I highly doubt will happen) or to tell him I want to cut off communication. I feel a sense of obligation to give him a chance because of what my mom has told me (that he has done lots of things for me) and because he would occasionally be nice which just confuses matters. Also, I am a bit worried how that would affect my mom. I don’t want her to get upset but at the same time I can’t carry this weight anymore. I feel this heaviness inside and I really need to get it out. I have tried counselling before, I have tried to forget and forgive, but as long as my father is still raising his voice at me and my mom, I can’t do this. Should I confront him if I really feel the need to? Has anyone had similar experience?How do I go about it considering his aggressive nature? 

Thank you.

5 likes, 8 replies

Report / Delete

8 Replies

  • Posted


    I'm sorry to read your story.

    You are not responsible for your mother, she is responsible for herself.

    If I were you I would run and never look back.

    Your half-sister sounds delightful and I think is a blessing.

    As for your father, stay away from such toxic individuals (that includes your mother) because if she thinks a fighting married couple is normal she is lost. That weird thinking trys to normalize abnormal behaviour and before you know it you will act like this when you face a challenge in your future relationships.

    It is learned behaviour.

    Violent people are not born they are created in a toxic violent environment.

    You do not have to confront your father - just be a great human being - something he is not and can never be.

    I wish you all the best.



    Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    Hi krem , I can utd your situation Cz I have actually seen men like this my aunts husband even my father sometimes the suggestion I'm going to give you I guess it'll help you and you have a big plus point that you're financially independent , what I think you could do is instead of confronting your dad ( bcz I don't think ur dad will change) talk to your mom (( bcz she needs help and truth is that she's not strong enough to stand up for herself)) talk to her peacefully,create your conversation deep and talk to her in a way that she's openly speaking her heart out And once you think she's speaking her heart out generally take the topic of your dad's behavior ( chances are she'll tell you how she feels and wt she wants to do ) But if this doesn't help and she doesn't open up, you could do one more thing , since you're living far away find some reason and ask your mom to stay with you for a few days ( find any appropriate and good excuse to call her ) and if your "dad doesn't agree to this " then you got to take this seriously and not blv your mom that your dad is a lil better nowadays don't believe your mom when she says things btw her and your dad are getting better bcz she is most probably not wanting to tell her problems to you myb because she thinks you'll have tension so she's keeping her sadness in her heart...., don't loose hope try to somehow bring your mom to stay with you atleast make her stay for a month y I'm telling this to you is because myb your mom will have a rest n peace for few days and she'll love the peaceful atmosphere and chances are she'll not want to return back to the violence and torture from your dad deep in her heart she'll want to stay with you and not wanting to go back ..... When you feel your mom loves staying with you confront your mom about everything like her marriage life since the start n your dads first marriage and y she hid the truth about your step sister from you (mostly talk at night because people are more revealing their feelings in deep conversation at night) and once your mother tell you the truth that she's actually suffering and only staying with him because of helplessness take an action!!!! Get your mom seperated from your wild dad and give her a life of peace and happiness because even if you try confronting your dad it won't help bcz dt man has already spoiled the life of his first wife and daughter and even after that he don't change he spoiled your mothers life too ..... Don't think about the help he did to you because it's parents duty to take care of their children and he did his duty and if he had feelings for his kids he wouldn't leave your older sister and he gave money to his elder daughter only for formality.... Try what I said seriously because I strongly feel this will help take care and love yourself believe in yourself and trust God he's there for you bye take care .
    Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    I truly hope you read this post. I am a Family Crisis Therapist who is also an abuse survivor. Although I understand everyone's response to your original post, I see things a little differently.

    I'm trying to take my cues from you and listening to what you need. I agree with many others in here that your father and mother are embedded in a toxic web and will likelh never be free from it. Congratulations to your for the strength to get out. Your father may not deserve your time...but you do! I'm hearing you admit how you've been to counseling and I can hear how you've tried to heal from this independantly from them.

    If your expectation is to change him, he won't hear you. The glaring difference for me reading what you've written is that YOU feel you need to do this. If this is for YOU to finally be free of those chains, then this is exactly what you need to do. Just understand your parents are in a cycle they've chosen to be in. I can hear your guilt creeping back in when you say "financially all they've done for me". Please understand that what they've done is provide you financial backing. You are their daughter and that is what parents are supposed to do. You do not owe them anything in return for that. Your mother has made her choice and it's sad. I know how much you care deeply for her, but you have to start having YOU be your largest concern first.

    If that means finally giving yourself a voice that was silenced your whole life, I suggest writing that letter to your dad, and reading it to him. You will have said what you need to say, you can lay out the boundaries you need to be able to gain power back. They do not have an authority over you. No one does. If you feel you need to adress this, address it. Just make sure you are doing this to protect yourself and help you grow from this experience. Any other reason will cause you more pain.

    I hope this helps

    Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Hi ddabc, I am going through something similar. Although I left home over 20 years ago and have recently regained contact and started my own family. My father stopped being agressive towards me before I got married and then pregnant. When he couldn't make decisions for me its when trouble started. I am now 35 years old and have needed my parent's help on an emergency occasion when my baby got sick. That time we both sleeped at their house and ever since he is texting me agressive texts and threatening to kill himself if me and the baby don't move in with them. He even showed up at my house at 6am once asking to play with my son. They know when my husband is away working and keep track on my schedule and my son's.

      I know neither him nor my mum are healthy mentally, but I can't afford to move any further from them and am pregnant with a second baby, so I will potentially need help when the next baby is born. My brother was never treated the same way my mother and I are, and he has told me on several occasions that the way my parents treat me is my fault because I'm a monster (like my father likes to call me). My issue is whether I should just stop all contact with them since I can't change them and when I have confronted my dad, he has reacted even more violently - I told him very gently but firmly that he can't scream at me or send me agresive text messages. His response was always to shout louder and pretend he is the victim of my behaviour, and absolutely always says he screams for my own good. My mum always backs him up and then my brother who lives independently but lets them make decisions for him (they even have his home keys and come and go as they please), sends me messages to say how much I messed up this time and that they are all really upset about what I have done.

      I am feeling lost and stressed and really don't know whether everything is my fault. Would really appreciate your thoughts on the matter. Thank you.

      Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    NO! Do not confront your Father. He is sick.he is a sick, selfish cowardly abusive person. It will never go well in any level. You owe them nothing! He is not a hero for bearing a son and financially suporting you. Thats called a parent. You mother is subserviant and very broken and brainwashed from all his horrific abuse. If she wanted out she would tell you, but instead she is feeding you to the wolf and telling you to be nice to him as it is gratitude, noway. Very dysfunctiinal and toxic. How sad no relative comforted you or tried to help you or your mother, you can look uo the domestic violence we site to learn more about what you are dealing with but it is not your responsibility to be anyones hero. He didnt get all better since you left. She is subserviant and at his beck and call so he is calmer. She doesnt seem to ask you for help to leave. Its amazing you realize how abusive he was and thats important. Therapy is a good idea for you. You never want to behave like him if you get angry one day. So id say a huge no on the confrontation. Your mother is co deoendent and broken from him, she was most likely co dependent before but abuse can cause stockholm syndrome and it is very complicated to deal with nor does it appear she wants out. So youd make a huge disaterous situation and shed run back. Its very sad. Double edge sword for you. If she ever request your help then call domestic violence and get advisement from them.they are professional and would know exactly how to handle this. You need to have a life now. It is important for you to forgive them, not be ok with any of it at all, but forgive them so you dont harbour in hate so you dont get ill. Your father is sick, true mental illness who had to have seen this behavior in his life, you can not be loving if you do not know love. He learned this behavior.keep that in mind. Impossible to teach a feeling you are unfamiliar with. So your father you can write off. Theres nothing of anything good on any level that he can offer anyone, the forgiveness is for you. In terms of your mother she is sick too. Very sad but true. She accepted the role of victim do to a brutal coward and she is all brainwashed by now. She is lucky he didnt disable her or worse. He would never take care of her if he did anyway.too bad no relatives helped you all. The fact she tells you to be nice to him screams shes sick. Sne would be apologizing and telling you how happy she is you did such a wonderful raising yourself and that now its your turn to live and be happy. Dont ever expect to hear those words,. Who knows what her uobringing was like to even stay with an animal like the first abusive occurance she should have ran for her life. You noted relatives ..she should have told everyone, called the police. Look she stayed. Many do and some it ends horribly. You pull her out shell run back.its very complicated. Saying that its beautiful you have a half sibling and you both are getting along well. It is your choice to fill her in on her father, maybe over time you will. Thats your call nothing wrong with whatever you deciede. It would be interesting to find out why her mom divorced your father. Most likely abusive. Your sick father wouldnt mention her because his ego was too high but clearly her family was strong and healthier and got him to financially support the child without dealing with his dysfunctiinal ways. Everyone is different. Enjoy your sister now and its great you have found each other. You deserve a wonderful, love filled life. Have no guilt. How dare anyone tell you No guilt. So3990 is correct in what he/she wrote. You can only be your own hero now. It is time to focus in finding enjoyment in your own life. Exoect to be a bit frazzled for a while. Therapy is a good option. you have been raised in a very abusive enviornment and walking away for you might produce issues. I promise you no guilt should be in your equation. And you did nothing ever to cause any of this ever, therapy should help you become indeoendent and handle anxiety or stress from memories and life correctly. Never feel abuse is explainabke or acceptable. It is not. You do not have to be a part of their dysfunction. I would say have no contact it seems that its so dysfunctional it would serve no healthy purpose for you. You have a voice if he yells at you, but be careful he would strike you. Keep that in mind. Theres a chance he would appear weak as well..its manipulation though. most likely blame your mother for her crappy raising of you. From what you wrote he takes no ownership in his behavior. Good luck, stay safe and have no guilt. You do not need to become his prisoner too or anymore.


    Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    I went exactly through the same thing and throught the years I also tried child support. They never did help my family much that I had to keep trying. untill I got my parents attention and that it was serious. My dad stoped hitting my mom but he is considering it. In your situation you should call the cops amediatly if you dad hits ur mom or you. Go outside or the bathroom and I wish you for the best. 
    Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    Hello Friend

    I am Also in the same situation but I have my own sister and brother and I am unemployed and also my father sold our house and staying with his mother.we are staying in our grand mother's house.

    Report / Delete Reply

Join this discussion or start a new one?

New discussion Reply

Report or request deletion

Thanks for your help!

We want the forums to be a useful resource for our users but it is important to remember that the forums are not moderated or reviewed by doctors and so you should not rely on opinions or advice given by other users in respect of any healthcare matters. Always speak to your doctor before acting and in cases of emergency seek appropriate medical assistance immediately. Use of the forums is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and steps will be taken to remove posts identified as being in breach of those terms.

newnav-down newnav-up